One mark of a really good book is when the book sticks with you when you’re done reading it. How long after you’re done do you still find yourself going back to the world, the characters, the thoughts, the feelings, the philosophy of the book? I finished the book “I’ll Give You the Sun” by Jandy Nelson on Friday afternoon. It’s Tuesday morning and in all my free moments I find myself going back to this book.
I want to meet the characters of this book. I want to hang out with them. I want to see how they grow from the end of the book. I want to be friends with them. I want to talk to them about being wobbly people (a phrase you’ll understand better after reading the book). I want to see the art work they may create on this concept. I want to use that artwork for my own writings. I would love to talk to Jandy Nelson about the philosophy that undergirds this book. A large part of this book is about learning who you are, embracing that person, and finding a way to be that person with others. I want to know why the author chose the variety of forms of creative expression that are sprinkled throughout this book over other forms of expression. I want the author to know that this book has inspired me to continue my creative endeavors – especially writing and painting.
By now, I’m sure it’s obvious that I highly suggest that you read this book. Shall I actually tell you a little about it? The story is about a set of boy/girl twins and their parents. When the story opens, the twins are 13 years old. The girl is athletic and popular. The boy is creative, quiet, and not popular. Both twins are artistic. Each twin has a unique relationship with their mother and father. As the book progresses, each chapter is told from either the point of view of the boy, Noah, or the girl, Jude. Throughout most of the story, the Noah chapters are told from when they are 13 years old. The Jude chapters are told from when they are 16 years old. What a difference 3 years can make!
In those 3 years, the relationships with the parents change, both Noah and Jude experience romance, and the close relationship that the twins share shifts and twists. The writing is vivid, the emotions are experienced by the reader, the story is so real you hope that the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Even as the reader is given insight into the knowledge that each twin has, the plot still provides surprises. And, the end? Well, I don’t want to give anything away, so all I will say is that it is worth it! I laughed, I cried, I gasped, I felt my heart breaking, I longed to hug my inner child, and I loved every minute of reading this book.